Iran To Launch 'Islamic Google Earth'
Today in international tech news: Iran says it will launch an "Islamic Google Earth"; The Pirate Bay is booted from Greenland; the U.S. will escalate its cyberdefense; ICANN will allow Chinese characters in top-level domains; and Google Street View supposedly catches an Australian couple doing the deed.
Iran -- long irked by Google's mapping systems -- said that it will launch its own 3D mapping service, one liberated from the geographical inaccuracies and "Zionist" bent of Google Earth.
The system will be an "Islamic Google Earth," according to Mohammad Hassan Nami, Iran's minister for information and communications technology . It will go by the moniker "Basir," which means "spectator" in Farsi, and it reportedly will be ready for launch in the next four months.
Google Earth merely feigns providing a service, Nami said, but is actually used by security and intelligence organizations to obtain information from foreign countries.
What exactly will be different about the "Islamic" 3D map, Nami didn't say.
After Google Maps removed both "Persian Gulf" and "Arabian Gulf" last year in a bid to be politically neutral, Iran threatened to sue Google over its non-labeling of the Persian Gulf.
[Source: The Guardian]
Pirate Bay Finds No Haven in Greenland
The telecommunications company in charge of Greenland's ".gl" top-level domain followed through on threats that it would block domains related to The Pirate Bay, perhaps the world's best known file-sharing site.
The Pirate Bay was born in Sweden but is falling increasingly out of favor with Swedish authorities. Thus, earlier this week, The Pirate Bay abandoned its Swedish .se domain in favor of .gl.
However, Tele-Post, the company overseeing .gl registration, said it would not permit the domain to be used for "illegal" activities. Indeed, both Pirate Bay sites -- ThePirateBay.gl and PirateBay.gl -- have been suspended.
[Source: Torrent Freak]
US to Escalate Cyberdefense
President Obama on Wednesday proposed an increase in spending to guard U.S. computer networks.
Military "hackers" are part of Obama's budget proposal for the 2014 fiscal year, designed to strengthen U.S. efforts to fend off cyberthreats from China, Iran, Russia and others. The proposal would increase defense for both government and private computer networks, and increase the Defense Department's spending on cyberefforts to US$4.7 billion, up $800 million from current levels.
Last month, intelligence officials said that cyberattacks and espionage had usurped terrorism as the United States' top security threat.
ICANN Plans Chinese Character Options
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, announced Wednesday that the organization would introduce Chinese character options for top-level domains during the second half of 2013.
ICANN, a private body that oversees top-level domains, among other things, had previously limited Web address endings to Roman characters -- hence, .com, .org, .net and so on. Chinese characters can already be used before the Web address suffix, but not in top-level domains.
Now that such top-level domains will indeed be allowed, ICANN has already received applications for Chinese characters such as "cell phone," "benevolence" and "company."
[Source: The Wall Street Journal]
Google Sleaze View
Critics who bemoan Google Street View's privacy invasion just got some raunchy new ammo. (A heads up -- all ensuing links are not necessarily suitable for work.)
Google Street View's quest to map the world's roadways resulted in a rather unfortunate image showing two lovebirds, shall we say, expressing their love on the hood of their ride, which was parked along the Dukes Highway in southern Australia.
Now, there is reason to doubt the veracity of the image, which first popped up on Reddit. For one thing, the Dukes Highway is a major road, connecting Melbourne (Australia's No. 2 most populous city) and Adelaide (No. 5).
That said, the image -- which is not gratuitous but at the same time not particularly wholesome -- does suggest an intimate rendezvous.
Google Street View has also reportedly captured an image of a dead donkey -- one that some suspect was killed by the Street View vehicle.
[Source: The Register]